RELEASE: Falling Behind: New Report Shows Idaho’s Maternal and Infant Health Trends Worsening

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Health Advocates Call on Lawmakers to Improve Supports for Pregnant Women and Babies

Boise, ID: A new report released today by Idaho Kids Covered shows that Idaho is falling behind in key maternal and infant health indicators, including maternal and infant mortality,
postpartum depression, access to pre-natal care and infant well-child doctor visits. As Idaho’s
maternal and infant health needs continue to grow, the group recommends a series of policy
recommendations be implemented to reverse the troubling trends.

“Idaho’s current health trends for moms and babies are quite alarming. Our state is falling
behind the nation in key areas,” stated Hillarie Hagen, health policy associate and lead
coordinator at Idaho Kids Covered. “Our new report shows that Idaho’s maternal and infant
mortality rates are increasing and many women are suffering from untreated postpartum
depression. Despite the growing needs, Idaho’s insurance coverage rates for pregnant and
postpartum women rank last in the nation for families with low-incomes.”

Providing women with comprehensive health coverage before, during and after pregnancy
leads to improved preventive care, reductions in maternal mortality1 rates and improvements
in birth outcomes. However, 100% of Idaho maternal deaths in 2018 and 2019 were found to
be preventable. Lack of access to care and lack of continuity of care are the top contributing
factors to maternal mortality in Idaho. Between 2019 and 2020, Idaho’s maternal mortality
rate more than doubled, increasing by 104%. In addition, 22% of Idaho mothers experienced
postpartum depression compared to 15% nationally and over half of new mothers screened for
depression never received treatment.

As policymakers confront Idaho’s growing needs and actively explore opportunities to increase
maternal and infant health supports, it is essential that they consider recent health data. “Idaho
is made stronger when we safeguard the health and well-being of our families. It is not too late
to reverse Idaho’s troubling trends for maternal and infant health,” Hagen explained. “Idaho’s
economy is strong, and after another year of record budget surpluses, our state has the
economic power to make significant improvements in health outcomes for moms and babies.”


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Idaho Maternal and Infant Healthcare Report

Healthy births are the first step in ensuring babies grow, develop, and thrive. Yet Idaho is falling well behind in key maternal and infant health indicators. Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade and Idaho’s ‘trigger law’ that criminalizes abortion services, maternal and infant health needs in Idaho will grow.

Now is the time to take steps to reverse Idaho’s troubling health trends by advancing a set of broad state priorities focused on improving birth outcomes, the health of infants, and the well-being of moms. As Idaho policymakers explore opportunities to increase support for pregnant women and newborns, it is essential that they consider what the data shows about the needs of families.